Commercial Cannabis and Decriminalized Psychedelics in Washington D.C. More Likely

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Last week, The Outlaw Report discussed The Blumenauer-McClintock-Norton Amendment which would prevent interference from the federal government in states where cannabis is legal expanding the protections already given to states with medicinal cannabis programs. On Thursday July 30, the House of Representatives voted on The Blumenauer-McClintock-Norton Amendment which passed with a vote of 254-163 (222 Democrats, 31 Republicans voted ‘Yea’)

During the hearing, Representative Earl Blumenauer discussed the federal government’s scheduling of cannabis as a Schedule I drug and its ongoing effects in preventing nationwide legalization and creating concern for states where it is legal: “The federal government, sadly, is still trapped by the dead hand of Richard Nixon’s war on drugs, declaring cannabis a schedule I controlled substance,” Blumenauer said.

Erik Altieri, Executive Director of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) called the amendment passing a “big deal,” in a statement, and stressed that it happened 96 days before November’s election. “This November, voters in various states—including several traditionally “red states” such as Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, and South Dakota—are anticipated to be deciding on ballot initiatives to legalize the distribution of marijuana for either medical or adult use,” Altieri wrote.”If passed, the total number of adult-use legal states will rise from 11 to 15 and the number of medical marijuana legalization states will increase from 33 to 36.”

As The Outlaw Report also reported last week, the Democratic National Committee, meanwhile, voted against putting cannabis legalization on its party platform, despite majority support across the country.  Marijuana Moment has reported that according to its sources, Congress will vote on a federal cannabis legalization bill next month and on July 31, Marijuana Moment reported that Democratic Senator Tina Smith filed a bill, The Substance Regulation and Safety Act, that would remove cannabis from the list of Schedule I drugs and begin to treat it similar to tobacco.

Congressional advocacy for cannabis may also allow Washington, D.C. to finally be able to establish its own regulated, commercial cannabis industry. The Financial Services and General Government spending bill, if passed, would eliminate the controversial rider that has prevented the District from having a commercial cannabis industry. Congress had previously removed this ride via a 2020 spending bill but the Republican-led Senate retained the rider in its bill and the rider remained when the bill was sent to President Trump. Earlier this year, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who is also a sponsor of The Blumenauer-McClintock-Norton Amendment, proposed removing the rider that prevents D.C. from using local funds to establish a commercial recreational cannabis industry in the district. 

In other news, the effort to put the decriminalization of psychedelics up for a vote in D.C. seems like it has been a success. Members of Decriminalize Nature D.C., who submitted more than enough signatures last month to get Initiative 81—they needed 24,712 and submitted nearly 35,000—have been observing the count (which determines if signatures are legitimate or not). On July 22, Adam Eidinger of Decriminalize Nature D.C. said the count was 85% complete.

The board of elections will announce the certification on August 5. On August 6, Decriminalize Nature D.C. is hosting an online celebration tied to the certification of its signatures which put it on the ballot in November.

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